Research Seminar: Roberta Ballarin

Dr. Roberta Ballarin will present a research seminar on The Double Double-Life of Names.


Abstract: The debate between referentialism and predicativism for names has recently taken center stage. According to referentialism, names are referential expressions whose main semantic value is an individual. According to predicativism, names form a class of count-noun predicates distinct from common count nouns, and the semantic value of names is a property or a class of individuals. According to a third, mixed view names are polysemous: they are predicates in some occurrences and referential arguments in others. In this paper I develop an analogy between names and honorific titles, presenting pragmatic considerations as well as syntactic and semantic arguments. On the strength of the analogy, I argue that names are actually a subspecies of titles. If I am correct about this, none of the three main current positions on proper names (referentialism, predicativism, and the mixed polysemy view) can be correct as they stand.


*Note: This event is eligible for LOC credit. That said, we remind students to please treat this event respectfully: please attend only if you are able to be present for the entire presentation and discussion (within the posted time limits, i.e. arriving by 12:30 and staying until 1:30), and understand that this is a high-level, research-oriented session. The topic and discussion may not be entirely accessible to those without a fair bit of linguistic training.